When chef Dominique Crenn hired me to help brand her first solo project, Atelier Crenn Restaurant I was honored to be part of such an incredible team. Dominique has received three Michelin stars, and in ad speak, that’s even bigger than a Clio award. Amazingly, through all the pomp and excitement that surrounds her, she remains utterly organic and earthy – two key elements I hoped to highlight in shaping her brand.
When we first started discussing ideas, Dominique was certain of one thing: She wanted a circle incorporated into her logo. I was clear that this circle could be found in nature. Thus began my exploration and delivery of, “A Visual Presentation of Color, Type, Object and Emotion”, a 35 page mood board and visual case study.
I think we ended up with just the right mark for what Dominique had envisioned, an homage to nature in its “nestlike” shape combined with a simple yet elegant hand drawn typeface. In keeping with the organic tone we had established, I had the signature elements for the restaurant letterpress printed in Berkeley on gorgeous uncoated paper.
As a designer, I love that I get to work in so many mediums and on such variety! Below, samples of a few items I’ve created over the years. First up, coming soon to a Costco near you, Calle Sabor Mexican food truck delicacies with sign painter inspired packaging that I designed.
Recently, with M&C Saatchi, I designed collateral elements for boutique hotel Origin in Lexington KY. Guest rooms come stocked with locally themed gifts like Field Notebooks, postcards and door tags. Being true horse country, racing and equine themes take center stage.
For Smashmallow candies, I proposed product shaped air fresheners to promote the amazing variety of flavors they offer.
Next up, promotional items for the film, “I am Known as An Artist” a story about Wharton Esherick. As he was a premiere wood craftsman, I thought tree stump coasters and toothpicks were perfect tie-ins.
Former Olympian medalist, Kate Schmidt, asked me to brand her current business venture, Home Bodies.
These letterpressed self promo items for my (then titled) firm, Whatever Design were created in tandem with, and printed by, Emily McVarish, one of only a handful of people using a letterpress back in the years before 2000.
A branding and packaging project for HP’s Sprout.
Good design can make everything more appealing, even dentistry. For Progressive Dental Partners I developed an identity and other marketing materials.
I had a great time designing and illustrating my wedding invitations. Remember, there’s a lid for every pot, no matter what you’ve heard.
I was approached by Inkblaat and asked to design patterns for their shoe inserts. My concept was a pattern based on slot machines with a bit of a twist.
Levi’s was such a great brand to work on. These were kits for internal marketing teams outlining new fits, sizes and merchandising information.
At Hal Riney and Partners, I branded Saturn Car Club which was, at the time, a fledgling grassroots organization. For the photo shoots, we used only Saturn owners and true Car Club members.
Identity I designed for Katherine Gordon, founder of The 3% Conference. As this is her personal branding used in social situations outside of the 3% affiliation, I suggested we letterpress in 3 colors on uncoated paper for a friendly and homespun quality.
Below, some favorite projects from over the years. Clockwise from bottom right: Mother’s Day card for Maternal Instinct, Boys & Girls Club self mailer, CAV Wine Bar identity, Citizen Cake poster, Pant identity, Saturn Car Club mailer, Whatever Design identity, and in the center: AIDS Emergency Fund invitation.
For the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund’s first year, I created a bunch of materials that supported their first community awards dinner. For Khadra International Dance Theater, I designed and illustrated posters and postcards. Below that, business cards and identity for Blue Star Builders as well as Sense Design, an early iteration of my personal business name. Finally, A series of personal CD’s I designed and gave as gifts one year.
Flipside Arts Collective needed a cost effective way to brand themselves — enter stickers and chipboard. To this day, the identity system I created for them remains one of my favorites.
Brio biscotti, another Bay Area foodie passion project for whom I illustrated and designed the packaging and identity.
Working at DDB Remedy, I designed and produced Johnson and Johnson’s display booths for the American Diabetes Association.
When School of Thought Agency asked me to create a website for their client, Meyenberg Goat Milk Products, I jumped at the occasion. Meyenberg was one of those things that I had seen for years on the shelf but, honestly, had never tried. The product was truly best of brand in the category, but a small category at that. Their fan base was a loyal one, but really limited to pastry chefs and a few lactose intolerant old schoolers.
Our thinking suggested leveraging the existing voice that dedicated consumers had come to love, while simultaneously reaching out to new customers: families, foodies, and lactose intolerant newbies. The old site had major room for improvement and my concept was simple. Utilize the familiar illustration style the packaging employed and endow the characters with personalities that could speak to all these new people.
Using an image carousel on the home page allowed for some really fun imagery and creative. Simultaneously we were able to create multiple messages and CTAs that drilled to specific targets. Research told us that families would appreciate health messaging, foodies would be prone to recipes and pretty much everyone could relate to humor.
In addition to typical e-commerce functionality, some additions to the new site are; a rollover super navigation, a “may we also suggest” feature that is prompted when users put items in their cart, and a similar recipe feature that drives shoppers to further explore the Meyenberg product list.
For the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Google worked with 72 and Sunny on a campaign honoring leaders of the Disability Rights Movement. I was brought in as a Senior Designer to help create the integrated campaign that ran in Washington DC and Los Angeles. The incredible portraits of individuals who played key roles in the passing of the landmark legislation were created by illustrator, Darren Booth.
The campaign received numerous mentions across news and advertising outlets like: The Washington Post, Creativity Online, and Adweek to name a few. To see the digital work and/or get more information on the Google Impact Challenge click here.
Role: Freelance Senior Designer / Agency: 72 and Sunny / Client: Google / Media: Integrated / Creative Directors: Hema Patel, David A. Hays, Tony Stern
Click on either screen to visit the Impact Challenge website.
It’s difficult to live in Northern California and not work on a wine account at some point in your career. What’s even more difficult is not to work on more than one. My experience has taken me to Virtual Vineyards, Vinos & Gourmet, WineShopper.com, among others.
Below, advertisements that launched one of San Francisco’s favorite wine bars, Hayes & Vine. I was the art director and copywriter — Luckily, I got a little help from photographer, Robert Doisneau.
I also created the logo, branding and various collateral materials for Hayes & Vine.
Copywriter: Marguerite Lutton
At FCB West, I was CD on the Taco Bell account before it transitioned to their in—house agency. While my tenure was short lived, I covered quite a bit of territory and definitely learned how to “Live Más”.
First up were designs and marketing materials for the launch of what hoped to match the success of the Doritos Loco Taco, The Fritos Taco. While it only rolled out in a few test markets, the work was fun and, um, tasty.
Role: Freelance Creative Director / Agency: FCB West / Client: Taco Bell / Media: In Store / CD Copywriter: Adam Nowak
Using imagery from Taco Bell’s awesome Instagram feed, I designed a nutritional brochure that focused on the healthy variations the restaurant had to offer. Additionally, I designed posters for a tapas menu that never got off the ground.
For The Steak Double Dilla, we were asked to showcase the phenomenon of “unboxing” that is sweeping the country while also highlighting the large amount of steak in the Quesadilla. Additionally, I created a mark for the product that didn’t live but I think it has merit, shown below the POP.
The Cantina Power Bowl is a favorite “healthy” bowl option. I developed a mark for it that played up the rustic and hearty nature of the product.
I’ve produced dimensionals, self-mailers, letter packages and the likes for big brands, small brands, and everything in between. Here’s a few select favorites from over the years.
For The AIDS Emergency Fund Awards Dinner, I created a fun poster that folded down into a 6×9 self mailer. I also did the typography and illustrations. The hats at the event were a hoot and a half.
When the AEF had their 20 year anniversary, I created a logo mark for them as well as a series of mailers announcing various events within the campaign. Additionally that year, The Breast Cancer Emergency Fund was launched so I created an invitation to their first birthday party. Growth was an easy theme to get everyone on board with.
For L’Atelier, a small Bay Area business, I created their identity as well as a self mailer that outlined their offerings.
Tech seminars and mail work really well together as is the case in this campaign for Sybase I created at Miller Kadanoff.
A fun dimensional fulfillment kit gave Softkey resellers incentive to participate with the brand. I did the illustrations for this package as well as the design.
For Khadra, a San Francisco dance company, I created a simple two color postcard to announce their event at Fort Mason.
Teaming up with the advertising agency, Maternal Instinct, I was asked to help launch a really fun new brand. When I sat down with Katherine Gordon, owner and ECD of Maternal Instinct, to talk about the project, I realized how far out of the target audience I was. The client, Honeycombers, was developing a line of barber like combing establishments, specializing in treating kids with head lice.
This was an entirely new category for me, and much to my surprise an extremely rapid-growing one. I’m used to my pups getting flea treatments as needed but, now I’ll also be sure to check in on my cousin’s little ones the next time they’re in town. It’s great to know there’s such a fun option out there for such a harrowing experience!
In building the brand, our goal was to create something that appealed to a huge audience — Moms of youngsters, kids of all ages, and dads too — across a broad socio-economic base. The resulting images below show some of the development process, research, and creative studies that went into the assignment.
Starting off with an extensive logo exploration, it was quickly determined that one of my early ideas was the favorite: a classic profile of a young girl with the logotype in a cursive typeface. From there, we developed a library of silhouettes and palettes for the brand that were super fun, colorful, and quirky. We went on to present options of identity systems as well as patterns that the brand might use as wallpaper in store or elsewhere. These, sadly, didn’t get produced but the core brand identity concept was well underway.
Honeycombers went on to develop the wallpaper idea in store as well as creating aprons and packaging based on our original concepts. The palette remains close, albeit a bit less neon than I recommended. In the image below, you can see the final produced colors on the wall at the left, and my suggested palette composited on the right hand side of the image.
In an even further nod to the approved look and feel, PIXINK went on to develop the digital brand, collateral and packaging for the shop and Interior Designer, Nicole Hollis extended palettes and imagery beautifully into the physical space. The result? A cohesive and comprehensive brand system that translates across multiple components and mediums.
Featured frequently on TV and in media like Iron and Top Chef, Elizabeth Falkner is arguably one of the most recognized food celebrities of the past decade. I’ve had the great fortune to partner with her on projects for over 20 years now from small to large. Here’s some tasty favorites I’m proud to share:
Citizen Cake, Elizabeth’s signature San Francisco restaurant and patisserie, was the largest project I’ve worked on with her to date. Starting with just a logo and business cards my designs graced signage, packaging, ads, online, menus and more.
Printing the posters above, the printer thought I was crazy when I said I didn’t care about the registration. I wanted them to look all wonky, and they did. In addition to design, I wrote the copy as well. Elizabeth loved them so much she used some of the lines in her cookbook, “Demolition Deserts”.
Budgets ran tight in the early days which required being smart with materials. A common solution was to use fun, branded stickers and stamps wherever possible. We even used extra posters and converted them into envelopes.
Featured below, a menu I designed and illustrated for one of Elizabeth’s restaurants in San Francisco.
Copywriter: Marguerite Lutton
Portrait Photography: Frankie Frankeny
Working at Liquid Agency, I helped re-brand Tintri, a virtual storage specialist that calls itself, “a new model for IT”. Working from the ground up, we handsomely packaged the brand with a new identity that included: Icons, a new website, a beautiful identity system and more. shown here are a few highlights from the project.
As is the case with any good tech company, white papers and product information packets were a plenty. We snazzed things up a bit with clean, easy to read templates and layouts.
A library of icons all based on hexagons, now a huge brand hallmark, were also part of the project.
The website was, of course, a critical part of the assignment. After many an iteration, the final design, with hexagons as hero, rose to the top of the pile.
Radhika Abhyankar, the ACD on the project, truly brought the website to life with carousel illustrations and messaging that were again, based on the hexagon theme.
Madison Reed, a new line of premium hair color, asked me to help them convert a new audience of potential consumers. The challenge? Get 40+ year old women to purchase hair color online, something that has historically been an in person purchase and a traditionally small category (can you name a brand outside of Miss Clairol?). This was a big challenge, we needed to educate, build trust and change behavior.
The assignment was originally to create a simple landing page – but my suggestion was a bit more comprehensive – add 5 new segments to the existing website that answered the question, What is Madison Reed Color? The feeling being, before we could sell any product, we needed to introduce ourselves to a skeptical crowd.
As the brand was in its early stages, identity elements were not fully established so I created a look that partnered easily but also introduced a fun and clean visual style. Clean portrait silhouettes with icons that spoke to the natural elements of the brand supported the elevated the experience.
My aim was to illustrate the 3 main benefits of Madison Reed color: It’s effectiveness, lack of harsh chemicals, and premium experience.
As products go, Madison Reed truly had a lot going for them. The unboxing of their product is a highly elevated experience compared to parallel products, not to mention the celebrity support from industry leaders they quickly gathered.
The brand has a great tiered purchase experience that allows users to work with a stylist before making their final purchase, hence the “choose my color” CTA. But as is with any good marketing story, we end with a simple “start here” just to avoid any confusion.
R&R Partners hired me to design this campaign for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Not much thrives without water and, in the desert that is Southern Nevada, we aimed to conserve this precious resource. Two years out, 90% of our media reached the target and 3.5 billion gallons of water have been saved.
My typography was brought to life through a combination of live props and post production work in the film and print.
Working onsite at Digitas with an awesome team of creatives, I helped design and develop some of eBay’s 30+ page Seller Center.
With a new grid and framework, some specifics had already been established, but there was room for growth. Shown below are some of my recommended designs from early on in the design process. Feel free to view the full Seller Center here.
To view the live version of the Sell Online With eBay page, click here. Below is another fun page from the Seller Center, the Seller Success Stories. Some of the features on the page have been modified or updated since this initial design but the basic idea remains the same. See the live sample here.
eBay provides sellers easy to use labels, we designed a page to show just how to use them. Here’s the design I presented and, if you want to see the live page click here.
One of my favorite parts of the eBay project was working on a series of CTA banners to live on the Seller Center. Granted, these got really scaled back from what these designs look like below, but in an ideal world they might have looked more like these:
Consumer’s Union hired me to help them build awareness of the proposed mega-merger about to happen between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. These huge corporations stand to get even larger, more out of control, and further away from concern over consumers rights. In many ways, the first amendment is at stake as programming stands to become more controlled and financially driven, much less about breadth of choice.
I thought it best to just state the truth, envisioning something worse than Comcast today seems almost unfathomable, but the possibility exists. A visual collapse of the Comcast and Time Warner Cable logos created quite a beast, a great metaphor for the potential monster lurking in the distance.
Print ads blanketed Metropolitan DC in The Wall Street Journal, Politico, and Communications Daily .We supplemented the print with banners on The Washington Post.
Additionally, postcards were mailed and handed out with space on the back for personal testimonials as to why people didn’t want the merger to happen. They were then mailed to the FCC in bundles.
Working onsite at Liquid Agency in San Jose under the direction of Alfredo Muccino, CCO, I got to work on some really lovely projects in a really short period of time. First in this list was the beauty book we produced for Mighty Leaf Tea.
Working with gorgeous product imagery and Alfredo’s concept of packaging the book in a giant wooden box, I grew to love tea mighty fast. The result was this gorgeous box that housed a multitude of tea samples and an oversized book that sat inside the box. To this day I drink 2 bags of Vanilla Bean EVERY morning.
Shown here, details from a page where that featured words associated with the brand. This isn’t the final that made it to the book, but, close to it. I like to think of it as the promise wall of the Mighty Leaf brand. All said, it’s truly a beautiful and thoughtful product that I really enjoyed working on.
With data breaches, Mr. Robot, and Edward Snowden as every-day topics of conversation, it’s no wonder cyber security is such a hot category.
Doing my part to participate in the fanfare, I developed designs and illustrations for a high level digital security report. Being such sensitive data, I can’t tell you who the client was, but I can share a few ideas with you that landed on the cutting room floor:
The idea was simple and instantly metaphoric in my mind. Words and data were literally the symbols being tampered and corrupted, it made sense for them to be the heroes of the illustrations.
Supplementing the typography with sparing but symbolic iconography, each illustration told a story unto itself.
Ending, of course, with a business message, an illustration of what is ultimately effected by a lack of security.
The idea was simple, create an organization that could financially assist people in times of need. The Bridge Fund was formed but had no identity or marketing materials. Located in a wealthy area of Florida, the team knew that the resources were out there, but needed a way to reach potential donors.
I volunteered to help them get off the ground by graphically establishing their brand, and also created their first mailer to solicit donations. It all started with a sketch I made of an old wooden bridge in Bonita Springs that had come to be the central metaphor for the organization. As with any good branding assignment, I presented a range of identity options and color palettes before arriving at the final solution. After establishing a visual voice for the brand, I went on to generate the mail package. I wanted to create a piece that mirrored the warm, grassroots personality of the organization but could be taken seriously at the same time. Additionally, I wanted the piece to have an afterlife — my thinking was this booklet could also be handed out as a brochure after the mailing. The graphic solution was a simple 2 color letterpress brochure that fit in a #10 envelope. The bridge image was embossed on the cover adding a tactile and under produced quality to the piece. The simple illustration style carries on throughout the booklet. The messaging is concise and benefit driven, nothing high concept here but function and practicality work to tell the tale. For donation simplicity, the last page of the booklet is an easy to use response device. The piece was a success and helped the fund raise it’s first donor base. As their brand grows, more people are receiving assistance and being bridged to the support they need. Recently, a local high school volunteered to build a website for The Fund, I was happy to be asked for a few suggestions on how to leverage the brand. I’m always thrilled to help out on projects like these when I can, seeing them actually succeeding is the best kind of accolade one can receive.